Again Health Workers On War Path

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Nigeria’s shaky health sector may be under a fresh threat following a new resolution by workers in the sector to take on the authorities over breached agreement. The Health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Health Care Professional Association (AHPA) have threatened to resume their suspended industrial action on June 7, 2016, after a seven-day warning strike expected to begin May 31, 2016, if the Federal Government fails to implement agreement both parties signed in May 2012.
The health workers who include pharmacist, nurses, Jonathan, intervened and promised to resolve the issues.
JOHESU and AHCP in a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation titled “Re-Resumption of Strike Action Final Ultimatum”, dated May 23, 2016, and signed by leaders of its eleven affiliated unions said: “…Having waited this long and exercised enough patience, we have no option than to resume the strike we suspended in February 2015 if our collective agreements are not implemented within 15 days with effect from Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
“If by the midnight of Tuesday 31st May, 2016 these issues are not resolved, JOHESU will have no other option than to call on her members nationwide to commence a seven-day warning strike in the first instance with effect from 7th June, 2016.
“It is our prayer that government will avail itself of this 15 days window of opportunity to address the earlier stated demands.”
The affiliate unions of JOHESU include: Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) led by Biobelemoye Joy Josiah; National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) led by Adeniji A. A.; Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospital And Research Institutes (SSAUTHRAI) led by Dr. B. A. Akintola; Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) led by Dr. O. C. Ogbonna; Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU); and AHPA led by Dr. G. C. Okara.
JOHESU said it signed agreement with the Federal Government on May 10, 2012, on the following: Presidential Committee Report of Harmony in the Health Sector; Promotion of Health Professionals from Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) 14 to 15; Request for implementation of 2008 Job evaluation committee report; and Need to review the retirement age.
The health workers said the issues that could not be agreed upon, which were referred to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) include: Non skipping of salary CONHESS 10; National Health Bill; Consultancy and Specialist Allowance; and Call/Shift duty and other professional allowances.
JOHESU said after 13 months of tortuous court process, the issues were resolved in their favour by the NICN on July 22, 2013.
The health workers said other issues, which agreements were reached include: Adjustment of salary as done for NMA since January 2014 and implementation of court judgments for NANNM and Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).
It is not clear as press time if the unions’ demands to the government is being addressed so as to avert the strike as our Correspondent was unable to reach the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole on phone.

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